International Odissi Festival 2011: Arupa Panda and Pravat Swain present Arjuna - Dui Adhyaya
Director: Aruna Mohanty
Duration: 00:19:11; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 21.260; Saturation: 0.380; Lightness: 0.038; Volume: 0.387; Words per Minute: 20.993
Summary: The 4th International Odissi Dance Festival in 2011 was held from December 23 to 30, 2011, at Rabindra Mandap Bhubaneswar. The festival was preceded by an attempt to create a world record by having around 550 dancers perform together at Kalinga Stadium. It saw the participation of most major Odissi ensembles in Orissa and a few from outside the state. With performances for over twelve hours each day, the festival featured several hundred performers in solo, duet and group works over eight days. In its scale, the festival offered a bird's eye view of the landscape of contemporary Odissi and its ever-changing nature. It foregrounded new trends in choreography, music and costuming. The seminars during the festival sparked lively debates on issues and concerns in Odissi. One such concern, voiced repeatedly, questioned the definition of tradition within the space of the dance form and the limits it could be stretched to. This raised parallel questions about innovation and experimentation in Odissi - a debate that found itself mirrored in the performances during the festival.
Arupa Panda and Pravat Swain are senior students and dancers from Orissa Dance Academy, where they are trained under the guidance of Aruna Mohanty. Arupa has performed with Nrityagram in some of their productions besides her work with Orissa Dance Academy. Pravat is completing an M. Mus in Odissi at Utkal University. He has been awarded the senior national scholarship and has performed widely with ODA.
Here, they perform a composition based on Arjuna's dilemma as he goes to war against his own kin. Dejected, he is about to turn away from the battlefield, but Krishna steps in to convince him.
Arupa Gayatri Panda
Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana
Orissa Dance Academy
Pravat Kumar Swain
Arjuna, in disguise as the eunuch Brhannala teaches the daughter of king Virata to dance. This is in the 13th year of the Pandavas' exile. If they are discovered, they will be sent into exile for another spell of 13 years. Hence they take up minor positions in Virata's kingdom, biding their time in hiding as they wait for the thirteenth year to end.
There is a story behind Arjuna's life as Brhannala, for he is not really in disguise. When he refuses the advances of the apsara Urvasi, she curses him, saying that he will become a eunuch. But Arjuna is allowed to choose when the curse takes effect. Thus when he becomes Brhannala, he is choosing the period of transformation and not disguising himself.
Krishna and Arjuna enter the battlefield - a prelude to going to war.
Arjuna is distressed by the war he is fighting against his own kin. He sees his brothers and uncles standing against him in war and finds that he does not have it in in himself, to attack them.
Krishna tells him - it is your duty to go to war. What is the purpose of war and bloodshed, pleads Arjuna. But Krishna persists. Arjuna looks at the ranks of the Kauravas and finds the friends and cousins he grew up with. His venerable elders and gurus stand ready to face him in battle.
Krishna places the bow in Arjuna's hands and steers him towards the battlefield. But he is not prepared for the challenges of war.
Krishna reveals himself to Arjuna in all his divine glory. Cast your worries away, o Arjuna, he says.
Krishna uses his divine force to sway Arjuna and show him that the war is inevitable. Suddenly inspired by this force of thought, Arjuna senses a shift within himself. If he has to go to war against friends, cousins, gurus for the sake of dharma and duty, he accepts it as the way of the world.
Get ready for war, commands Krishna. Krishna, as the scion of the Yadava clan, is a friend of both the families. It is hard for him to take sides in this war. So he offers an amicable choice to both the warring parties. One side can take his Yadava armies, whereas the other side gets an unarmed Krishna. It is the Pandavas who chose to have Krishna, and Krishna serves as Arjuna's charioteer and constant advisor in the great Mahabharata war.